Younger Radio Listeners Make Australians Global Leaders In Digital Audio Listening

7 July 2023 | 3:24 pm | Christie Eliezer

A new report challenges the commonly-held perception that younger Australian music fans have abandoned radio for Spotify and TikTok.

Woman laying with a radio

Woman laying with a radio (Credit: Eric Nopanen on Unsplash)

Australians have long been boo’d up with audio listening.

That covers commercial radio with 12.2 million weekly listeners; community radio which reaches over 4.9 million folks who spend 14.5 hours every week; streaming; and podcasts.

The seventh Infinite Dial Australia report, which dropped on June 27, says that, in some cases, Australian radio listeners are world leaders.

According to the report, eight in ten Australians aged 12+ listen to radio weekly, 81% listen to digital audio monthly, and 43% listen to podcasts monthly.

It challenges the commonly-held perception that younger Australian music fans have abandoned radio for the sexier Spotify and TikTok.

It argues that the 12—34 age group is spearheading online audio adoption, with 92% listening to any online audio monthly.

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“Radio remains younger Australians’ favourite audio by far, with 76% tuning into radio each week, compared to 50% using TikTok,” reckons Ford Ennals, CEO of Commercial Radio & Audio (CRA).

“We are seeing the biggest increase in listeners among young audiences 18-24. 

“This is partly driven by the +52% increase year on year in listeners to the wide range of innovative commercial DAB+ stations."

As its name signifies, the CRA represents the interests of commercial radio broadcasters as a political lobby, marketing and research body and works to grow DAB+ digital radio.

It is one of the three local sponsors of The Infinite Dial, which is put together by U.S-based Edison Research, which also compiles local editions for the USA, New Zealand and Canada.

2023 figures show Australia overtaking the U.S. in digital audio listening, podcasting and in-car audio.

Digital audio listening comprises AM, FM and DAB+ radio stations listened to online, podcasts and music streaming services.

About 18 million Aussies, or 81% of the population, listen to digital audio monthly, up from 78% in 2022. 

This compares to 75% in the U.S.

Those who listened to AM, FM and digital radio in the week before the survey numbered an estimated 17 million, or 79% of the population.

These are broken down by age to 76% in the 12—34 demo (up from 69%), 81% for the 35—54 group, and 81% for those 55 and over.

Australia’s 79% compares to 61% in the U.S., 73% in NZ and 62% in Canada in 2022.

“Around six million Australians stream radio weekly, growing from 14% in 2021 to 27% in 2023,” Ford reveals.

Online Radio

On a weekly basis, the 12—34 age group makes up 89% of listening, with the 35—54 group at 78% and the 55+ at 52%.

Most (70%) listen through the station’s app, 61% through its website, 52% via aggregator app/website, and 49% use a smart speaker.

Online radio listeners comprised 27% of the population compared to 12% in America, while NZ was 23% and Canada was 20% in 2022.


Australian podcast listening jumps to 43% monthly from 40% in 2022 and is ahead of the U.S. for the first time. 

Weekly podcast listener numbers rise 7% to make up 33% of the population, from 26% year on year.

The U.S. figure is 31%, NZ 30% and Canada 26%.

“The growth is fuelled by the strength and breadth of Australian content and the popularity of podcasts from broadcast radio,” Ford states.

About one in 10 Australians age 12+ listen to a podcast every day, with 23% of weekly podcast listeners averaging five episodes per week.

21% listen to two a week, 18% six to ten, and 14% for three and for one episode.

Most Australians (87%) listen to podcasts at home, in their car or truck (64%), while waiting around or on foot (54%), on public transport (40%), at work (33%) and at the gym (29%).

Spotify is the service of choice at 66%, then YouTube (61%) and Apple (41%), while 29% use their own apps.

Edison Research shows Gen Z (aged 13 to 24) as enthusiastic podcast consumers, 82% absorbed with the podcast without doing anything else, and 82% using a video element.

75% listen weekly, rising to 80% in the 13-17 group.

44% discover podcasts in the first place via social media or a social media personality or celebrity, with YouTube and TikTok as the most common places to find them.

Most popular are comedy, entertainment/gossip and true crime. Podcasts that tell real-life stories are of the most interest.

For Gen Z, listening to podcasts is tied in with mental health and well-being.

83% consume podcasts to relax, 65% to escape, and 56% to help understand how they’re feeling about something. 

Further data on podcast tune-ins comes from research firm Roy Morgan, published June 27.

Over 3.93 million Australians, or 18.3% of the population, download audio or video podcasts in an average of four weeks, up by a massive 456,000 (+13.1%) from a year ago.

Mobile phones and tablets are the leading way to download, used by 3.2 million (15.2%), while around 1.1 million (5.2%) use their computer.

“Clearly the ability to listen to your favourite podcast while commuting to and from work and tuning out from the hustle and bustle on crowded public transport, or just relaxing in your spare time to catch up on what’s been happening in an area of personal interest is appealing to a growing number of Australians,” observes Roy Morgan CEO Michele Levine.

There’s little difference by gender of downloaders, with 1,983,000 men (18.8% of men) compared to 1,952,000 women (17.9% of women) – both up by 200,000 a year ago.

Millennials and Gen Z traditionally dominate (70%) downloads, but in the last year, Gen Z moved forward from 1.377 million to 1.374 million.

But watch out, the fastest growth is within Generation Alpha – those born from 2006 onwards – with listeners to podcasts from that generation more than doubling to 142,000 compared to a year ago.

In-Car Listening

Radio listening in the car remains the top digital audio choice.

84% of those aged 18 and over listen to the radio while driving, at a rate of 5 hours and 21 minutes, while the Americans only are at 73%.

In comparison, only 41% of Australians stream in the car, although that’s grown from 39%.

Also listened to in cars are podcasts (38% from 32%), owner’s own music collection (35% from 34%), CD player (33% from 34%) and online radio (20% from 16%).

36% of Australians have Apple Car Play or Android Auto.

DAB+ Listening

DAB+ stations tripled their audience since 2020 by widening their content and being more available in new cars.

In 2023, DAB+ listening soars to 7 million a week, or 32% of people aged 12+, up from 18% last year and 10% in 2020.

Online Audio Streaming

About 3 million listen via audio streaming, 39% through Spotify, 22% through YouTube Music, 9% via Apple Music, 4% via Soundcloud and 3% use Amazon Music.

Of Spotify’s local users, 62% pay a subscription, 31% are on the free tier, 5% use someone else’s account, and 2% are on a free trial.

Pop/adult contemporary and rock/alternative/indie are the most popular.

In June 2023, GfK introduced a new audience measurement system Radio 360, which delivered for the first time total, broadcast and streaming audience figures for stations in five major capitals.

It found that 27% or.3.8 million listeners in the five capitals were using streaming to get their radio fix – a number that is tipped to rise.


Infinite Dial Australia has TikTok being used by 27% of the Australian population.

Of this, 50% are in the 12 to 34 age bracket, 21% are in the 35—54 group, and only 6% of over-55s are bothering with it.

In June 2023, TikTok Australia revealed it had 8.5 million monthly users for the first time – far below Facebook’s 15 to 20 million.

Earlier reports had the U.S. as the world’s largest TikTok audience, with 117 million, followed by Indonesia at 113 million and Brazil's third largest, with almost 85 million.

But Australia is a TikTok leader, with Aussies spending an average of 29 hours and 36 minutes per month, well above any other country.

In comparison, Facebook users spend 17 hours and 48 minutes, while YouTube users average 17 hours and 6 minutes per month.

Smart Speakers

The report estimates that 6 million Aussies own smart speakers, with GoogleNest the most popular brand by far (23%) over Amazon Alexa’s 6% and Apple Homepod barely a blip at 1%.

They’re mostly kept in the living room, then the kitchen and the main bedroom.

These owners comprise 28% of the population,  below America’s 36%, Canada’s 30% and New Zealand’s 20%.

Music streaming

By mid-2020, Roy Morgan estimated 12.7 million Aussies (or 61% of the population) were using music streaming services.

CEO Michele Levine expanded they “tend to be younger and more open to new ideas than the average Australian, and ready to spend their money to seek out new experiences whether travelling, sampling different cuisines are trying the latest tech products.” 

People who stream music online are more likely young, tech-savvy a woman aged under 35 and likely to be in full-time white-collar employment.

Check out The Infinite Dial 2023 here, and take a look at Gen Z’s podcast listening here.